The Spears Family YMCA, in collaboration with local autism groups, was able to kick off the Quad F program in December of 2016. This program is for Adults with Autism and other communication disorders who have trouble with social interactions. Quad-F stands for Friends, Fun, Fitness and Fusion. As you will read, during the first session, they did all did just that through many activities.
Session 1 – Success!
This pilot program started on December 8th 2016 with 3 consistent participants. The small group allowed for our program staff, Carlie and Shanae, to fine tune the program and plan outings and activities that would encourage conversation and sharing among the participants and staff so to could strengthen the participants communication and social skills. Program staff also incorporated physical activity and healthy snacks during our sessions. The Quad F thoroughly enjoyed food and making food a part of a Quad F ritual brought a unique intimacy and opportunity to share their traditions around food. In fact the very first day and many days after one participant brought snacks to share with the group and really enjoyed making that contribution to the group and the joy it brought to his peers.
After attending a training in the fall for adolescents and young adults with autism through TEEACH, the Quad F Program staff developed a better understanding of the “disability” and learned that it is still very important to establish consistency, expectations, and roles so they can have the most success at achieving social independence. Our goal is to help the participant reach social independence and meet with each other for dinner or a movie outside of the times Quad F meets.
Session 2 – Growing!
In 2017, our small group has already more than doubled. The new participants started the second session on February 16th. Our hope is that this program will continue to grow and as our current participants have reached their goals within the program we can repeat the program with a new group.
Thanks to the Quad F donors for helping make this program possible!